Teaching EFL is effectively a teaching ‘handbook’ which can be referred to at short notice for suggestions, examples, and reassurance. It is just the beginning of the long process of becoming an effective and successful teacher. It has been written to provide help and encouragement. I hope it does.
Despite the title of this book, I do not think it is possible for someone to ‘teach’ himself or herself how to teach, without actually doing it, just as you cannot learn from a book how to use a computer if you do not have a computer to use.
However, I do know from my experience as a teacher trainer that there are EFL/ESL teachers who have no qualifications or training. This is not good for the profession, and it is certainly not good for the students.
However, it is a fact. I also know that even those people who do undertake a training course need as much practical help and support as they can get, not only during the course, but also – and maybe particularly – after the course, as they begin their first teaching assignment. So, you cannot teach yourself to be a teacher, but you can learn and improve your skills as you go along.
This book, therefore, is intended for these three types of reader:
- teachers teaching without having had any training.
- teachers who have recently trained and who lack experience.
- trainee teachers doing a training course.
By ‘teachers’ I refer to those in any country, teaching to monolingual and multilingual classes, to students whose first language is not English, and to students who are classified as adult learners (generally defined as 16+).
Since the book has such a broad focus it inevitably deals with the general, rather than the specific, teaching context. This is no bad thing. The book’s purpose is to provide new teachers with the basic teaching skills, background knowledge and awareness that will subsequently enable them to develop and fine-tune what they do in the classroom.
I have seen situations where too much is expected of new/trainee teachers. Many of my ex-trainees have complained about the lack of support and help from some first-time employers who sometimes seem to expect students to know everything from having done a four-week the training course, or similar.
This is unrealistic. Equally, tutors on training courses should not forget that most of their trainees have never been in front of a class before in their lives and that they need support and encouragement as well as expert training.
Good luck, and enjoy the ride! It won’t be dull.